The Community for Technology Leaders
International Conference on Social Informatics (SocialInformatics) (2012)
Alexandria, VA, USA USA
Dec. 14, 2012 to Dec. 16, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4799-0234-7
pp: 62-69
Social-media-supported academic conferences are becoming increasingly global as people anywhere can participate actively through backchannel conversation. It can be challenging for the conference organizers to integrate the use of social media, to take advantage of the connections between backchannel and front stage, and to encourage the participants to be a part of the broader discussion occurring through social media. The backchannel conversation during academic conference can offer key insights on best practices, and specialized tools and methods are needed to analyze this data. In this paper we present our two fold contribution to enable organizers to gain such insights. First, we introduce Conference Monitor (CM), a real time web based tweet visualization dashboard to monitor the backchannel conversation during academic conferences. We demonstrate the features of CM, which are designed to help monitor academic conferences, and its application during the conference Theorizing the Web 2012 (TtW12). Its real time visualizations helped identify the popular sessions, the active and important participants, and trending topics. Second, we report on our retrospective analysis of the tweets about the TtW12 conference and the conference related follower-networks. The 4828 tweets from 593 participants resulted in 8:14 tweets per participant. The 1591 new follow errelations created among the participants during the conference confirmed the overall high volume of new connections created during academic conferences. On average a speaker got more new followers than a non-speaker. A few remote participants also gained comparatively large number of new followers due to the content of their tweets and their perceived importance. There was a positive correlation between the number of new followers of a participant and the number of people who mentioned him/her. Remote participants had a significant level of participation in the backchannel and live streaming helped them to be more engaged.
visualization, social network, twitter

A. Sopan, P. Rey, B. Butler and B. Shneiderman, "Monitoring Academic Conferences: Real-Time Visualization and Retrospective Analysis of Backchannel Conversations," International Conference on Social Informatics (SocialInformatics)(SOCIALINFORMATICS), Alexandria, VA, USA USA, 2012, pp. 62-69.
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